Fort Leonard Wood introduces housing mayors

Sam Campbell FORT LEONARD WOOD

Four of Fort Leonard Wood’s neighborhoods have elected their mayors, and Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, introduced them during a Housing Town Hall March 25, livestreamed in the Fort Leonard Wood Housing Town Hall Facebook group.

The mayors will serve in one-year terms, representing six neighborhoods.

The election results for the four neighborhoods are:

— Jonathan Kendig will represent the Woodlands neighborhood.

— Sgt. 1st Class Maximilian Saalmann will represent the Eagle Point neighborhood.

— Staff Sgt. Ty Fogal will represent the Stone Gate neighborhood.

— Angela Chrisman will represent the Piney Hills neighborhood.

North Stone Gate and Piney Estates neighborhoods are slated to have mayors appointed by Medical Department Activity and the garrison, respectively.

According to Mike Estright, Directorate of Public Works Housing Division chief, the mission of the mayoral program is to give residents another way to share information, ideas and concerns more efficiently with leaders.

“The mayors serve as the principal neighborhood liaison to develop and implement recreational and social activities, community assistance projects and events designed to build a sense of community spirit, improving the quality of life for the residents of Fort Leonard Wood,” Estright said.

Army installations worldwide are also re-introducing the program as part of the Army’s ongoing effort to improve on-post housing. The program returns here after a six-year hiatus.

Any person over the age of 18 who lives in on-post housing was eligible to run for mayor of their neighborhood.

Ballots were delivered and filled out via email, and according to housing officials, colonel-level commanders will each sponsor a neighborhood to work with mayors in resolving issues.

Saalmann, a senior enlisted advisor assigned to the Special Operations Element to the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, said he looks forward to advocating for his neighborhood in monthly meetings between mayors and government housing officials.

“I thought this would be a good opportunity to voice the concerns and issues of the community to the garrison command team, and try to rectify the problem,” he said. “They are legitimate concerns by residents.”

Saalmann said his experience as a landlord allowed him to identify ways to improve housing conditions on post, and ultimately inspired his run for office.

His vision for Eagle Point comes from having grown up in on-post housing, and he wants to build a sense of camaraderie. That includes volunteer beautification projects, he said.

“We have a lot of upper-level middle school- and high school-aged children — I’d like to try and create an opportunity for those kids to get in some volunteer hours that can be supported by the garrison command team,” he said. “That can help set them up for their college applications.”

Fogal, a Military Police Soldier assigned to Combat Training Company, said he hopes his knowledge of law enforcement can help improve the lives of residents in his neighborhood.

“Family members don’t always get information, and those are the people who are living in the houses,” he said. “That’s who I want to target to see the actual issues they are facing, and see what they want in the community.”

Fogal said he keeps an open-door policy for any neighbors with issues, and he encouraged them to either stop by his house or call his cell phone.

“Reach out with anything and everything you have,” he said. “Even if it’s a tiny issue, it can always become a bigger issue ... so voice your concerns.”

To watch the livestream, request access to the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/672741406696528.

Sgt. 1st Class Maximilian Saalmann, a senior enlisted advisor assigned to the Special Operations Element to the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, is the new mayor of Eagle Point neighborhood. He said his experience as a landlord allowed him to identify ways to improve housing conditions and act as a liaison for his neighbors to garrison leadership. Photo by Brian Hill